How cool would it be for this place to be your neighborhood diner? Frank’s Restaurant is in Burbank, where folks have no shortage of retro dining options. #igersla #igers_la #signgeeks #signporn #rous_roadsigns #retrologist #americana #roadsideamerica #roadtrip #ipulledoverforthis #typography #typevstime #justmytype #fontastic #greasyspoon #california_igers #diners #restaurants #coffeeshops #pies
Here’s one thing The Retrologist is lovin’ at McDonald’s: The old-school salt-and-pepper packets. The design still features the classic McDonald’s logo encased in the yellow border. And the copyright date on the packets? 1986, from the era of the memorable “It’s a Good Time for the Great Taste” campaign. I’m lovin’ it! #mcdonalds #hamburgers #burgers #fastfood #restaurants #logos #1986 #1980s #design (Taken with Instagram)
John’s Grill, a San Francisco institution and “home of the Maltese Falcon.” #sf #neon #restaurants #retro (Taken with Instagram)
New Yorkers think of Tad’s Steaks as an old-school Gotham holdout, which it is. But Tad’s used to be in several cities. Here’s the Tad’s in San Francisco, complete with amazing signage. The sign lists the other cities where you could find this chain. #retro #roadtrips #sf #restaurants #neon (Taken with Instagram)
The Cup & Saucer is at 89 Canal St. at Eldridge Street. (Photo: Jefferson Siegel)
Photographer Jefferson Siegel sends along a photo of one of my favorite New York storefronts, the Cup & Saucer Luncheonette on Canal Street on the Lower East Side.
This storefront gets everything right: The mix of fonts and signage, the Coca-Cola logos, and that name … so evocative of a time when luncheonettes were a dime a dozen in New York.
Now, the Cup & Saucer, and places like it, are a treasure.
— Rolando Pujol
Where Murray Hill meets Kips Bay, there is a corner where mid-century New York meets the present.
For starters, the Clover Delicatessen has been holding the fort on the southwestern corner of East 34th Street and Second Avenue since the late 1940s, and its neon sign is one of the finest you’ll see on any street corner. To be sure, it’s the most glorious neon sign left on all of 34th Street, river to river. [Well, with the possible exception of Macy’s.]
But walk next door, and your trip through storefront time continues. This liquor shop has an amazing neon sign in the window.
Notice the “LE” in the telephone number — short for "Lexington exchange" — happily preserved in neon.
That means this sign must date, at the very latest, to the early and middle 1970s, by which time the use of exchange names was being phased out. Today, the store would write “532-0980,” and probably not in neon!
Interestingly, a few people to this day hang on tenaciously to their exchange name. It certainly adds poetry to the common phone number.
You can join the club by figuring out what your exchange name might have been by Googling the words “telephone exchange names” and clicking on the first result.
And then start giving out your cell number in this archaic format: KLondike5-5555.
People might think you’ve had one too many, but you’ll know better.
Text and photos: Rolando Pujol
A version of this post originally appeared in amNewYork’s Urbanite blog.